To The Editor:
I received the attached anonymous letter in the mail yesterday and I suspect the rest of the council members did also.
Here’s my take on what needs to be done. Any design is driven by a specification. The simple solution is for the BOE to adjust their specification enabling a redesign to ensure the referendum approved budget inclusive of a 10 percent contingency can be met. Addressing the specification (BOE Statement of Need) must be done regardless of whether a new design team is brought on or not.
Substandard education is directly related to curriculum and instruction which the BOE has indicated has improved significantly in recent years. It may very well still be substandard. The school building and facilities are a part of the problem so delaying the fix isn’t a solution. The miss is the self-assessment on how our specification and continual revisions in how to interpret it by the BOE is the cost driver not necessarily the designers.
I estimate we have already sunk $1.6M into the project. At this point something has to give, either the specification or the budget amount. I have low confidence a new design team can overcome a $1.6M investment with nearly no contingency left using the same specification. I estimate the authors of this letter and potentially my own children will get at least one more season of wet classrooms if we bring on a new design team.
I encouraged Don Lombardo to apply for the public building commission and after being rejected by the majority of the town council a year before I think everyone on that commission can agree he has brought a wealth of knowledge and a credible no nonsense point of view that will help us successfully work our way through this project.
Leadership is getting the right team together. I hope the town sees this and thoughtfully considers who should be on the BOE in November and who may be able to contribute to a revised specification we most definitely need.